Clarkson Professors Awarded Nearly $400k Grant from the NSF for Integrating Cybersecurity into Computing Curricula

September 14, 2023

Four Clarkson Professors have received a $398K grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to create and integrate Identity and Access Management (IAM)-themed project-based learning (PBL) curriculum into existing computer science and software engineering-related curricula.

Headshots Daqing Hou, Jeanna Matthews, Jan DeWaters, and Faraz Hussain

This project is under the direction of Daqing Hou, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Director of Software Engineering, Jeanna Matthews, Professor of Computer Science, Jan DeWaters, Associate Professor in the Institute for STEM Education, and Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Faraz Hussain. The Clarkson team will collaborate with researchers from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Project-based learning (PBL) and other active learning practices have been shown to increase student motivation and engagement, raise examination performance, and reduce failure rates. Students will work on authentic, real-world problems similar to what they will encounter on the job. This approach will broadly expand cybersecurity education to all computing-related students, not just those enrolled in dedicated cybersecurity programs. The project also aims to broaden participation in computing disciplines. Ultimately, it will improve student learning outcomes, including personal competencies, mastery of cybersecurity content, and higher-order thinking skills.

The project will design and develop a diverse set of ready-to-use IAM-themed software course projects, along with supporting course modules and active learning activities, which will enable course instructors to assign and support take-home PBL projects. At least ten faculty members from multiple institutions will use the developed course materials in their classrooms, impacting over 1,000 students. A pilot study will assess the promise of the developed projects in improving student learning outcomes. The overall framework and materials developed will be disseminated through websites, publications in conference proceedings and journals, and workshops.

As a private, national research university, Clarkson is a leader in technological education and sustainable economic development through teaching, scholarship, research and innovation. We ignite personal connections across academic fields and industries to create the entrepreneurial mindset, knowledge and intellectual curiosity needed to innovate world-relevant solutions and cultivate the leaders of tomorrow. With its main campus located in Potsdam, N.Y., and additional graduate program and research facilities in the New York Capital Region, Beacon, N.Y., and New York City, Clarkson educates 4,000+ students across 95 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, the arts, education, sciences and health professions. Our alumni earn salaries that are among the top 2% in the nation and realize accelerated career growth. One in five already leads as a CEO, senior executive or owner of a company. To learn more about Clarkson University, go to
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